Posts made in October, 2014


Tips for Starting a Podcast

Tips for Starting a Podcast


Posted By on Oct 20, 2014

tips for starting a podcast

As you may remember, last week I did a little bit of rambling (ahem, grumbling) about podcasts and how they seem to grow on trees lately. I think it’s important to note, though, that that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for any more! The world needs more trees, and chances are, your industry needs more podcasts – good ones, especially!

Podcasting can be a great way to reach out to your audience and market your products, even if you never talk about them directly. Here are some ways podcasting can improve your marketing efforts:

  • It puts a face on your brand, or a voice if you’re audio podcasting. It gives people a personality behind the business, and that makes them want to buy from you because they feel like they know you, personally.
  • People take podcasts with them everywhere they go – on trips, in the car, to the gym, and even to work. Can you say the same about the products you sell? Would you LIKE to say the same about the products you sell? If people start carrying around your podcast like that, chances are they’ll soon put two and two together and come visit your shop so they can support you that way, too.
  • It gives you a chance to tell stories, and telling stories draws people in. It’s a great way to share a bigger picture of YOU and your brand than you could ever write into a product listing or an About page.

So! Now that I’ve covered the bad AND the good about podcasting, I’ve got a round-up of helpful tips for starting a podcast, gathered from the Web just for you.

  1. Elise Blaha (Elise Gets Crafty) talks about her initial thoughts on podcasting, after a few months doing that particular gig. She includes notes on how she does it, behind-the-scenes style. She also has a post on how to launch a podcast (bonus!).
  2. Tara Swiger (Explore Your Enthusiasm) launched her audio podcast in one week! Here’s how she did it.
  3. Gregory Ciotti (Sparring Mind) has a great post outlining all the tools you’ll need – both physical tools and online, marketing-type tools – to start a podcast.
  4. Gwen Bortner and Kellie Nuss (EduKnit.com) take you behind-the-scenes and show how they make videos for their educational knitting site. This isn’t specifically about podcasting, but it gives you a good idea about what you need to do in order to make really good videos.

So, have you thought about starting a podcast? Do you already have one you’d like to share with us? Leave it in the comments below!

 

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Welcome to #MakersWednesday, our favorite day of the week! We’re glad you’re joining us as we take a moment to pause and celebrate the Maker in all of us.

MakersWednesday button

This week I’m sharing a simple baby quilt I made a few weeks back. A friend of mine had sent me this gorgeous piece of fabric, and I thought it would be great for a baby girl because it was feminine without being too traditional. I made this quilt a bit on the larger side, so it would grow with a baby from birth through toddlerhood and maybe even the preschool years!

To make it, I just put together pieces of fabric that were all the same width, alternating between my main fabric (the backing fabric) and strips in other semi-solids and tonals that would coordinate well. I’ve got a white-on-white print, a yellow floral, and a pink print with fairies in the mix. The whole thing is bound in the same yellow and backed with my focus fabric. It didn’t take long at all to put together, so it would be a great quick baby gift idea (assuming you have a fabric stash like mine).

So, what are you working on this week? Share it with us and tag it #MakersWednesday so we can find it!

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Should you start a podcast?

Should you start a podcast?


Posted By on Oct 13, 2014

should you start a podcast

If you hang out in any industry long enough, you’re going to notice some trends and some cycles. Things become popular, get too big, become yesterday’s news, and fizzle back out. Sometimes it’s a color, other times it’s a particular product on the market, and other times it’s a big new project that everybody seems to be doing.

Personally, there are a few circles I hang out in; most of them are craft-related (knitting/yarn crafts and, to a lesser extent, sewing) and then there’s the crowd of small business owners. And in all of these circles lately, I’ve been noticing a trend: podcasting.

I love podcasts, I really do! I’m pretty late for jumping on this bandwagon, actually – it was only about a year or two ago that I even realized that podcasting was a thing. Part of this is because I’m not an auditory learner, and never have been; so audio podcasts, while there are many great ones out there, are just not my thing because everything I hear goes in one ear and out the other. Video podcasts, though – that’s something I can get into!

When I first discovered knitting podcasts, I asked my knitterly friends for recommendations, and I got a ton. So, I started watching a TON of podcasts, while I was crafting, or doing mindless tasks for work, or cleaning up around the kitchen. But it got to be overwhelming, keeping up with all those podcasts week after week, because my time to sit in front of a screen and watch something (particularly something that’s just for me, that nobody else in my family wants to watch with me) is limited. So eventually I just sort of let a few of those podcasts drop to the wayside on my viewing queue, and now I just have two or three that I try to keep up with regularly.

So in the knitting industry alone, there are the 2-3 podcasts I watch every week, and then there’s, I don’t know, eleventy-billion more. (Yes, I’m serious, there’s a whole crap-ton of them.) It feels like every week I’m scrolling through my Instagram feed (largely populated with other crafty peeps) and finding a new person I follow is starting a podcast, or someone else I follow is watching a brand-new podcast (or listening to one). ¬†And I have to be honest: my initial reaction, inside my brain, is normally this –

“Another one?!? Ugh….”

Insert much eye-rolling here.

I suppose I should tell you that the voice inside my head is a serious Negative Nancy some days, so you shouldn’t pay her any mind. If you’ve just started a podcast, or you’re thinking of starting one, this really isn’t my attempt to dissuade you from that project (I swear!). It’s simply to inform you that you will NOT be alone in this endeavor. I may not have the stats on alllll of the industry niches out there, but if the rest of them are anything like knitting then you’re going to be a little fish in a gigantic ocean for a while.

And that’s okay! As long as you know that, and you’ve got a plan to figure out how to make yourself stand out in the crowd.

So that’s where I come in! Nobody likes a Negative Nancy, especially when she just likes to point out problems and not offer solutions, right? So here I go, with a few tips I’ve gathered from around the Web. Thinking of starting a podcast? Start by answering the questions below.

Should you start a podcast?

Well, that depends! Can you answer YES to most of these questions?

1. Do you have a crapload of stuff to talk about? For your niche, do you have an endless or nearly-endless supply of material to work with? Nobody wants to watch a knitting podcast for the lady who takes a whole month to knit a pair of socks, and that’s all she ever talks about.

2. Do you own the proper equipment? Recording for audio or video, lighting, a good computer and a good Internet connection?

3. Are you a good conversationalist? When you meet someone, do you always have something to talk about? (Think about this, because you’re going to be sitting down in front of a camera and/or microphone, and you’re gonna need to have something to SAY.)

4. Will your podcast be about more than just selling the stuff you’re already selling in other formats?

5. Do you have enough time to commit to making a podcast part of your regular schedule? (Remember, you could put up new episodes every week, every two weeks, or every month. But you should do it regularly, not sporadically, if you want to build an audience.)

6. Do you have something to say, a perspective to offer, or something to show that’s different from what’s already out there?

Now! If you didn’t answer YES to all of those questions, that’s okay! But if you didn’t answer YES to most of them, that might be a problem. Take a little time to think about this, and I’ll be back next time with tips on how to start a podcast, if that’s the way you wanna go.

 
photo credit: Fey Ilyas via photopin cc

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Welcome to Friday, the day where we pause at the end of a busy week to #ThinkCreateReflect!

TCR button

Lately, I’ve had a hard time finding the time for fiction reading. I’m so busy reading or writing for work, or helping my kids with their school, that I don’t have a lot of time to read for pleasure, just for me. Partially that’s because I spend my free time doing other things, like quilting or knitting. And partly it’s because I just haven’t felt inspired to pick up a book.

That’s why I enjoy using my library’s ebook lending system. I’ve been reading my way through The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher, and when I finish one book I put the next in line on hold. That gives me a little break between books, but when the next one comes up in my inbox I know I’ve only got 14 days to read it before it returns itself. It’s nicely motivational!

Anyway, today’s post for #ThinkCreateReflect isn’t about finding the time to read, but it was inspired by Harry Dresden, the lead character (a full-time professional wizard living in modern-day Chicago) in those novels I’ve been reading. Harry is a practitioner of magic, but he can’t just start up with the spell-working on a whim. Before he works a spell, he has to ground himself and clear his mind. He’s got to focus his energy on the task at hand, and remove the distractions and emotions that might cloud his judgment or mess with the magic.

That got me thinking – what if we, as creative business owners, could do that every day before work? How much more productive would you be, how much better would your art become, if you could ground + center your focus before beginning work each day? If you took a few moments to calm and quiet your mind, to breathe deeply, and to set yourself to the task at hand?

What kind of magic could you make?

Try it, and then come back here and let me know if it worked for you!

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Maybe it’s because I’m baking a bunch of banana, apple, and pumpkin breads for a bake sale today – but I’ve got sweet, autumn-themed treats on the brain! I thought it might be fun to do a round-up of healthy (and okay, maybe a few not-so-healthy) breakfast ideas that are inspired by the flavors of the season.

After all, if you don’t eat an inspiring breakfast, how can you expect to feel inspired the rest of the day?

autumn themed breakfast ideas

  1. Normally, I’m not a big fan of oatmeal at any time of the day (okay, unless it’s baked into cookies!). But this pumpkin oatmeal recipe might just be the thing to convert me!
  2. Speaking of pumpkin and my obsession with it, how about these cinnamon & sugar pumpkin muffins? I can barely stop myself from jumping into the kitchen and baking up a batch right now!
  3. I’m not much of a squash eater, but bake zucchini into a bread or other tasty treat and I’m all over it. I recently discovered this recipe for chocolate chip zucchini bread, and it was a big hit with my family, too!
  4. If you want to be a little healthier, try out this combo of zucchini, bananas and flaxseed in a muffin. Hearty, plus fruits and veggies!
  5. Or, for you oatmeal lovers out there, turn your zucchini bread into an oatmeal recipe!
  6. These basic oatmeal squares make a hearty breakfast on the go, and would probably be easy to adapt to other flavors. Did anybody say pumpkin?
  7. Spice cake + banana bread sounds like a winner in my book. Spiced banana bread here we come!

So, what’s YOUR favorite autumn-inspired breakfast recipe? Share it with us in the comments below!

photo credit: g_firkser via photopin cc

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